Your computer starts malfunctioning, and you have no idea what’s wrong – what’s an employee to do? Google it? Maybe try turning the machine off and on again? That’s what IT is going to say anyway, right?
The idea of a contentious relationship between employees and IT departments is nothing new, but this stereotype may have produced some underlying implicit bias in the way each group views and behaves toward each other. For IT, employees are needy, annoying risk vectors. For employees, IT is a function that exists to solve their problems or restrict what they can do – nothing more, nothing less. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Welcome to our new research series, #GoToGetsIT, where we’ll be exploring trends in remote work, technologies, the economy, and more that impact small-and-medium-sized businesses. To kick off the series, we asked 1,000 Americans about their relationship with their IT department – here’s what we found:
The Transactional Relationship Between Employees and IT
- 72% of employees know the right way to contact IT but choose to use another method (instant message, email, phone, etc.).
- This is true whether you think contacting IT is easy or hard, meaning people just want resolution quickly and aren’t thinking about IT process or workflows.
- Technologies should give IT what they need in a format or on a platform that is intuitively part of an employee’s existing workflows.
- 55% avoid reaching out to IT until they absolutely must.
- Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) feel guilty about reaching out to IT.
- Gen Z/Millennials feel the guiltiest about reaching out to IT, but it turns out they reach out more than any other demographic.
- Maybe these ‘digital natives’ speak TikTok and Instagram, but Office 365, collaboration tools, and business technologies are a different ballgame.
- Half of employees would rather spend their own time trying to resolve their IT issues themselves, and more than a third (36%) will just work around the issue.
- 1 in 4 US employees don’t think it’s easy to get in touch with IT – but the extremes, who say it’s either very easy or very hard – are the most satisfied with their IT departments.
- Remote workers think it’s significantly more difficult to connect with IT vs. their in-office colleagues.
Calling IT – Everything in Moderation
- Nearly 1 in 4 (24%) of US employees say they are reaching out to IT at least weekly.
- People who reach out to IT daily think it’s harder to connect with IT than any other group.
- When asked what they would rather do instead of reaching out to IT, employees who reach out daily chose “going to the dentist” as the top option after “figure it out myself.” Weekly callers’ second choice, however, was “No complaints, our IT department is great.”
- These numbers could be the difference between “crying wolf” and reaching out for legitimate support – reaching out daily may be the result of a perceived inability to handle technology or defaulting to IT as the problem solvers vs. having a practical self-service portal or tool.
- Weekly callers likely spend a little time troubleshooting until they can’t solve an issue, then create a ticket or reach out to IT, and get their problem resolved in relatively short order. The right balance is a gray area, but what you can do is empower both groups with better tools to facilitate interactions.